US passes $95bn security assistance package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

The United States House of Representatives has passed a $95bn legislative package providing security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The foreign aid package allocates $26.38bn for Israel, including $9.1bn for humanitarian needs. Specifically, the allocation will see $5.2bn go to replenishing and expanding Israel's missile and rocket defence system; $3.5bn for buying advanced weapons systems and $1bn to enhance weapons production; $4.4bn for other supplies and services to Israel; and $9.2bn for humanitarian purposes, including in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank. The bill provides $60.84bn to address the conflict in Ukraine, specifically: $23bn to replenish US weapons, stocks, and facilities; $14bn for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a US Department of State-led funding programme that helps train Ukraine's military and provides equipment and advisory initiatives; more than $11bn will fund current US military operations in the region, enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian military, and boost intelligence collaboration between Kyiv and Washington; and $8bn in non-military assistance, including helping Ukraine's government pay salaries. The package also includes proposals that allow the US to seize frozen Russian central bank assets to rebuild Ukraine, impose sanctions on Iran, Russia and China, and impose conditions on the China-based owner of TikTok to sell its stake within a year or face a US ban. The vote in which the aid package for Israel was passed 366-58, had 37 Democrats and 21 Republicans in opposition. Among the Democrats who voted against the bill was Representative Ilhan Omar, who has been an outspoken critic of the US' role in the war on Gaza. "I do not support unconditional military aid that further escalates the already horrific humanitarian situation," she said in a statement. There were deep splits in the Republican camp on the Ukraine vote, with 112 Republicans voting 'no', and only 101 in support. The legislation now proceeds to the Democrat-majority Senate, where proceedings are expected to begin next week. If passed, President Biden has promised to sign the bill swiftly.

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